Originally published March 12, 2013 at 4:08 p.m., updated March 13, 2013 at 8:55 a.m.
SAN DIEGO The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education tonight unanimously approved the four-year contract of Cindy Marten to become superintendent.
San Diego school board members will finalize their contract with the district's next superintendent Tuesday night.
The Central Elementary principal tapped to follow Bill Kowba as San Diego Unified Superintendent is slated to get a salary of $255,000 in the first year of her contract, five thousand dollars more than Kowba earns. She pledged to use $5,000 for a scholarship to be awarded to a student who is planning a career in education.
Marten will also receive the $10,000 annual auto stipend that Kowba and previous superintendents have gotten. During the first year of her contract the district's finance office estimates Marten's health benefits will cost $14,261 and the district will make a $63,498 contribution to her retirement account. That will bring the total value of her compensation in her first year ion the job to $342,759. Over the course of the four-year contract Marten is scheduled to get $20,000 in salary increases. In November 2012, U-T San Diego reported the total value of Kowba's compensation at $313,413.
During her first year on the job Marten will take five unpaid furlough days along with the rest of the district’s central office staff.
Marten will begin serving as superintendent designate and working alongside Kowba April 1, and will become superintendent July 1. Before taking office, Martin will meet with district staff, parents and students to identify their specific challenges.
The board chose Marten, the principal of Central Elementary School, Feb. 27, one day after Kowba announced he would retire when his three-year contract ends June 30.
Board President John Lee Evans said the board's non-traditional appointment of an educator was because the district would have a stronger instructional focus as finances gradually improved.
"It's an honor, but mostly it's about my ability to continue to work and serve children,'' Marten said. "Whether I'm a classroom teacher or a bus driver or a nurse or a counselor or a principal or a vice principal or the superintendent, the work is still the same.''
Evans said the quick move to pick Marten was because board members had reached a consensus, it would allow for a longer transition period and because they believed in the district team set up during the past few years.
The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education also voted 4-1 Tuesday to adopt a resolution that expressed some uncertainty as to whether the district would be able to meet its financial obligations over the next two fiscal years.
The resolution called for the district to issue a "qualified'' financial certification to the state in the face of $92 million in spending cuts required to balance the budget for the next fiscal year, although the district had come up with a list of budget solutions, according to the district's Chief Financial Officer Stanley Dobbs.
Another $52 million in reductions loom for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
School districts are required to issue such declarations to the state, covering the financial outlook for the current fiscal year and the next two.
District officials can give a "positive'' certification, in which they will have no problems paying the bills during that time period; "qualified,'' in which they might run into fiscal trouble; and "negative,'' when they believe they won't be able to meet their financial obligations.
A financial report prepared for the trustees said the budget for the next fiscal year is still dependent on decisions by the Legislature, and included a list of budget solutions mostly made up of property sales, eliminating vacant positions and an attrition-based staff reduction. The board at a previous meeting voted not to issue layoffs for the coming year.
Trustee Scott Barnett, who cast the dissenting vote, was skeptical.
"This budget, unlike any other, actually creates a bigger risk of insolvency than any other this board has adopted,'' Barnett said.
Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association, the union representing the district's teachers, said although he was pleased there would not be layoffs, he questioned the process of school districts developing their budgets without knowing how much they would receive from the state.
"For them to have to submit a budget when we don't know the monies that we are getting, I think its cruel and I think its harmful to the district and the other district's in the state,'' Freeman said.
The board vote to adopt the district budget for 2013-14 is set for June 25.
Last year, the SDUSD was among 117 districts across the state, and nine in San Diego County that issued "qualified'' certifications. Seven districts statewide issued "negative'' certifications -- none in the county.